The year's first convertibles hit the market in force

Taiwan LED chip maker Epistar raises $280 million, while Bangkok mass transit operator BTS Group sells $327 million of baht-denominated CBs and London-listed Essar Energy aims for at least $500 million from a deal targeted mainly at European investors.

Quite a few issuers and bankers were hoping to be the first to bring a convertible bond to market this year and yesterday saw at least two of them share that honour. In fact there were three Asian CBs in the market last night, but since one of them was targeted primarily at European investors and marketed against a live London price, it remained open in the early hours of the Hong Kong morning.

It was unclear why everyone felt yesterday was such a good day to raise money there were also two blocks in the market although some bankers said the fact that Monday was a poor day meant some of these transactions were...

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